Restorative justice complete for dentistry students behind misogynistic comments

HALIFAX — A report into sexist online posts by dentistry students at Dalhousie University has found that a Facebook page at the centre of the scandal began as a bonding exercise, but turned offensive.

The report released Friday says the restorative justice process revealed a culture of unprofessionalism and competitiveness in the faculty.

“Members sought to ‘one up’ each other in ways that were frequently crude in nature and aimed at shock value,” says the 70-page report.

“The men’s Facebook group began as a bonding activity but became a place to vent frustrations, often in unhealthy and at times extremely offensive ways.”

The report was done after four female dentistry students complained last December that a Facebook page created by male students in the faculty contained misogynistic and sexually charged content about some of them.

The university launched a restorative justice process to resolve complaints about the comments. The school said the women in the class chose the process, which was informal and confidential involving both men and women from the class.

Despite the report’s findings, the university says the academic standards class committee determined the men are eligible to graduate as long as they satisfy their clinical requirements.

The five-month restorative justice process also found there were perceptions among participating students that racist, misogynistic and homophobic behaviours were not adequately handled, amid rumours of favouritism and unprofessionalism. It says means to deal with these complaints were frustrating to pursue.

Members of the Class of DDS Gentlemen page on Facebook reportedly voted on which woman they’d like to have “hate” sex with and joked about using chloroform on women.

In another post, a woman is shown in a bikini with a caption that says, “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).”

University president Richard Florizone temporarily suspended the male students in January after launching the process, which involved 29 students out of 38 in the fourth year class.

The restorative justice process included 12 out of the 13 men identified as members of the Facebook group, 14 women and three other men from the class. The 13th student from the Facebook group agreed to a remediation process that was required by the academic standards class committee.

Alison Auld, The Canadian Press